Everyone TV, a joint venture between BBC, ITV, Channel 4, and Channel 5, will launch a free streaming service called Freely in the U.K. The interface will host live and on-demand content from U.K. broadcasters and come preinstalled on smart TVs like Vestel.
Freely brings live and on-demand content to one streaming app to ensure television “remains relevant and accessible,” Everyone TV said in a statement. The platform aims to innovate streaming by letting users switch between live and on-demand TV from leading U.K. broadcasters. Members can pause, restart, and find more content relevant to their viewing history. Freely can be used anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi connection, and doesn’t need a dish or aerial.
Freely will be available to all U.K. households with Wi-Fi in the second quarter of 2024.
A study by market analyst group 3 Reasons predicts more than half of U.K. homes will watch TV exclusively via broadband by 2030. Everyone TV wants to “futureproof TV for the streaming age” and make it easier for audiences to find favorite titles and discover new content from U.K. broadcasters hosted on one streaming app..
“It’s clear the way people are watching TV is changing, with more audiences switching over to a broadband-only connection,” said Sarah Milton and Carl Pfeiffer, joint chief product officers at Everyone TV. “We’ve built Freely around the needs of British audiences, bringing them the freedom to choose how they want to watch, with all their favorite shows from the U.K.’s leading broadcasters all in one place for free.”
Freely’s interface offers something a bit different for U.K. live streamers. The MiniGuide is a pop-up display that appears whenever a user switches channels. This makes finding new content related to their searches easier when browsing. Users can push the Freely button on their remotes to find recommendations from Britain’s broadcasters and free-to-air channels. Users can also find content through the TV Guide, which shows a typical guide of all scheduled programs and how to find related content.
The free streaming service will be included on Vestel smart TVs through a five-year long-term deal with the streamer. Everyone TV is also collaborating with UKTV to add the broadcaster’s portfolio of free channels, such as Dave, Drama, and Yesterday, to Freely via broadband. Additional smart TVs, operating systems, and content partners, as well as more features and software updates, will be announced at a later date.
“We are thrilled to announce our further partnership and commitment to the latest innovation in television technology by offering customers TVs that are compatible with Freely,” said Atinc Ogut, vice president of TV production management at Vestel. “The collaboration not only enhances the functionality of our TVs but also empowers users to freely stream their favorite shows, live and on-demand, all from a single, unified platform.”
Everyone TV, formerly Digital U.K., runs U.K.’s free-to-view TV platforms, Freeview and Freesat, which reach more than 17 million households.
Image credit: Freely